Making Of: My WW2 Lancaster Bomber Picture

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: April 21, 2020

Category: Photography

I’ve always been a big believer in the importance of working on personal projects. They not only help you to develop your skill and keep you excited but are also integral when it comes to developing your own style.

Now more than ever though with us all being on lockdown due to Covid-19, personal projects help to keep us in the creative zone, keep our minds and fingers active and also help us to have ‘time out’ as your imagination kicks in.

This is most definitely the case for me as my Lockdown Project involves making and painting World War 2 Model Aircraft, photographing them and then using Photoshop to create scenes of them flying amongst the clouds.

For this picture of a Lancaster Bomber I originally photographed the model on my desk in front of my BenQ Monitor with a background I’d made showing full screen…

The reason I do this, for this picture anyway, was to see what the aircraft looked like against the background and the best angle to position it at. Then once happy, I then cut the aircraft out in Photoshop which took all of a couple of minutes using the Pen Tool and put it into the background.

Another reason I do it this way is because I can then later on whilst going through the retouching, work on the sky, sea and aircraft completely independantly so as to get it exactly how I want; it’s just about giving myself flexibility with this shot.

As you can see from the picture above I use a little bit of Blu-Tac to hold the model in place ontop of a table top tripod and ballhead. This is so incredibly quick and easy to angle the model exactly how I want it as opposed to hanging the model from something like fishing line, cutting it to length, securing it with some knots, suspending it from maybe the ceiling, and then having to undo it all again if it’s not hanging right.



To mimic the moon light highighting the aircraft I turned on a video light I have above my monitor and dialled in the brightness as I was photographing the model using ambient light as opposed to flash. You can see it in the picture below…

As for the backgroud, the sky was a file I had doing nothing in a folder on my hard drive:

For the sea I took a frame from some drone footage I filmed a couple of years back when working on a Dunkirk themed photo shoot and then manipulated it in Photoshop…

Just incase you’re interested here’s the short trailer I put together using the drone footage where the ‘sea’ in the Lancaster picture came from…

The moon reflection on the water was done in Photoshop and was simply a case of using a Brush with a White Foreground colur and painting the right shape, and then using the Blend If slider to, as the name wouls suggest, blend it in…

The distant shoreline was added by simply drawing a shape with the Pen Tool…

It was then a case of giving the picture the overall look which consisted of such things as creating the spinning props and colourising the image to give it a night time feel. This was done using a mix of Look Up Table (LUT) Adjustment Layers, a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer and a Gradient Map.

At some point in the future I’ll put a tutorial together going through the whole process but for now I hope that’s useful / interesting.

As always, any questions please feel free to make use of the comments section below and I’ll make sure to respond.

Keep safe and well,

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  1. Alison

    Very interesting to see this, as I have been considering using my iPad as a backdrop for macro work. You have re-ignited my determination. 🙂

    • Glyn Dewis

      Great to hear Alison, and what better time than during Lockdown…enjoy!
      Keep safe and well


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